the Supreme Court of the United States’ opinion in United States Patent and Trademark Office et al. v. B.V., 591 U.S. ___ (2020).

This is a link (Links to an external site.) to the Supreme Court of the United States’ opinion in United States Patent and Trademark Office et al. v. B.V., 591 U.S. ___ (2020). Using this decision, you will learn how to “brief” a case. Appendix A (pages 400-403) in your textbook will provide guidance for this project.  While the examples show some sections numerically listed, your sections should be written in paragraph form. Your brief will need to contain the following sections: facts, legal/procedural history, issue(s), analysis/reasoning, analysis/reasoning for any dissenting. And/or concurring opinions, rule of law/holding, and a one paragraph student response.

Be sure to use these sections as headings in your paper. Students may do extra research to ascertain exactly what led to the case, legal terminology, legal theories, explanations from the court, etc. as a fully picture of the case may not actually be contained within the opinion. Your paper should be at least 4 pages (but no more than 6 pages) in length. Your paper should be double spaced in size 12 Times New Roman font with one-inch margins, and any extra space between paragraphs should be removed.

legal citation system

  • Note: As stated in the syllabus, all citations must be in APA format. When citing to a case, APA adopts the formal legal citation system contained within The bluebook: A uniform system of citation. (2010). Cambridge, MA: The Harvard Law Review Association. This book, while useful in the legal community, is not worth your time and money to simply cite a handful of cases over the next eight weeks. Instead, I will give you the correct citation to use. For the first citation in a brief, you should use the long form citation. Afterwards, students should use the short form citations for all other citations contained in the brief.
    • The long-form citation for this case is United States Patent and Trademark Office et al. v. B.V., 591 U.S. ___ (2020).
    • The short form citation is (, 591 U.S. at [insert page number]).
  • There are a number of resources in the class files on Canvas to help you with this assignment including a case-brief template, a sample case brief, and a document titled, “How to Write Papers for Professor Hall.” Please utilize these resources.


Congress’s failure

I am about to email each of you your graded case briefs. I graded them using track changes so that you can see where you made mistakes either grammatically, in your citations, or otherwise. There are brief comments with your grade at the bottom of each case brief. There were some mistakes that were common to many of your case briefs, so I want to address some of those issues in this email:

  1. Citations: most of you got the “long-form” citation at the beginning of the brief correct. However, for the short form citation, many of you put them in parentheses. There was likely some confusion from the canvas post as to how that should appear. Here is an example of how your citations should look on your next case briefs:

The Court held that Congress’s failure to appropriate sufficient money to pay unprofitable plans through the Risk Corridors program did not alleviate the Government’s responsibility to “honor its obligations” to those insurers under Section 1342. Maine, 590 U.S. at 30.

For a dissenting (or concurring) opinion, the short form citation would appear as below:

In his dissent, Justice Alito argued that the majority’s opinion amounted to “a massive bailout for insurance companies that took a calculated risk and lost.” Maine, 590 U.S. at 2 (Alito, J., dissenting).

Note that you need to include the dissenting Justice’s name, followed by the “, J., dissenting.” If another Justice joins a dissenting opinion, you do not need to include that Justice’s name, only the name of the Justice authoring the dissent/concurrence.

  1. You do not need to include a “References” section at the end of your briefs. As you are only citing to (and only relying on) the assigned Supreme Court opinion, the long-form citation at the beginning of your brief is sufficient.
  2. Make sure you are using Grammarly. It appears many of you did not, and in some cases, it made your brief difficult for me to read and comprehend. The easier it is for me to read and understand your brief, the better your grade will be.
  3. Do not copy the Court’s language directly unless you are intending to quote the opinion. As in the two examples above, if you do intend to quote the Court, it is best to do so by integrating the quotation into your own sentence. The best practice with your briefs is to restate in your own words what the Court is saying, rather than repeating the opinion verbatim.
  4. Citations should appear at the end of virtually every sentence in your brief except the “Response” section. Again, do not cite to the syllabus of the case, only to the majority opinion and to any concurring and/or dissenting opinions.

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